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04-11-2010, 06:48 AM   #31
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QuoteOriginally posted by Snydly Quote
Thanks all.

I've used all the techniques above. I've set iso as low as possible, usually 100 to eliminate noise as a sharpness factor, used a tripod, set the shutter speed in the thousands, and even done experiments with every lens I own shooting at three different apeture settings in an attempt to find the sharpest picture. I'll admit I may not be doing everything right, but when I zoom in on the camera or computer, I see soft edges. I upped the sharpness setting on the camera too. Maybe I'm getting the sharpest pictures possible, and am too critical. My photo's just don't 'Pop' like many of yours. I'm attaching a couple here. I apologize if I bog down anyones computer. I believe Mike S told me in another thread to zoom and crop to download. I'll try that. I'll attach them to my next reply.

Thanks again.
First of all, without knowing exactly the lenses in question and without seeing example images, any suggestion here is a shot in the dark and any suggestion needs to be very general at best. The two images I see in your flickr account are not really good to see anything meaningful. The bird is completely unfocused and the surfer has a lot of spray to the sides of the image, which make qualifying the amount of sharpness (or lack of) impossible.

Secondly, it is extremely rare to see an image "pop" at 100% magnification on screen.

All digital images, except those JPGs already overprocessed by camera settings need some post processing, even if it mainly automatically done. The I wonder, how you shoot in reality. You described the pin in the old M42 Takumar to close down the aperture for takling the shot. You know, that no DSLR will actuate that pin and all shots would be done with open aperture? M42 lenses have to be manually stepped down before you take the image.

I want to add, that it might have been a better idea, to buy and use only one or two really good lenses, instead buying a bunch of lenses of whatever origin.

Ben

04-26-2010, 02:59 PM   #32
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I'm going to show my inexperience here again, but you guys are forgiving so...

What does 100% mean, exactly. I'm an engineer, so I've got the basic concept, but what does it mean in photography terms? Is it the same as 'lifesize'?
04-26-2010, 03:14 PM   #33
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It means that the picture is displayed so that one captured pixel is displayed on one monitor pixel. Typically a monitor has fewer pixels than the photo.
04-26-2010, 03:39 PM   #34
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QuoteOriginally posted by Snydly Quote
Thanks all.

I've used all the techniques above. I've set iso as low as possible, usually 100 to eliminate noise as a sharpness factor, used a tripod, set the shutter speed in the thousands, and even done experiments with every lens I own shooting at three different apeture settings in an attempt to find the sharpest picture. I'll admit I may not be doing everything right, but when I zoom in on the camera or computer, I see soft edges. I upped the sharpness setting on the camera too. Maybe I'm getting the sharpest pictures possible, and am too critical. My photo's just don't 'Pop' like many of yours. I'm attaching a couple here. I apologize if I bog down anyones computer. I believe Mike S told me in another thread to zoom and crop to download. I'll try that. I'll attach them to my next reply.
Hi Snydly,

I always test lenses with the flash. Too many variables in technique in handholding available light and too many variables in quality of tripods for either of these to be reliable for me to recommend to others. With the flash, I can shoot, let's say a series of shots of the same subject across the room varying only the aperture settings, pop the card in the card reader and see them on my monitor right away. When I inevitably mess something up, I can do it again right away. I'd test them at wide open, then a moderate aperture only to weed out the bad ones, then thoroughly test the best of the bunch.

As Lowell mentioned, carefully set up your diopter adjustment on your viewfinder and focus carefully. Perhaps use Focus Trap (Catch-in Focus) to ensure consistent focus. There are so many caveats to lens testing, to mention all the things that you have to be take into account would take a novel. Every time I try to do it, it usually ends up being a never ending project. I just look for center sharpness for the teles that I use for birds and use a Cardinal feather at about a 30-45 degree angle against a light background to test sharpness and resolution, DOF, and rough focus accuracy at the same time. The target should have both high contrast borders and some fine detail, and be well lit to give the AF sensor something to work with.

Obviously, with the Taks and such, you'll only have full power from the popup, so an external flash with a range of power settings would help, but these are cheap on the used market, and should be easily found. An Auto Thyristor model with a multiple auto ranges would probably make things easier for the manual lenses.

Scott

04-26-2010, 07:12 PM   #35
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Thanks Scott (& Jim)

I tried something like that. I laid back on the bed and used every lens I had to take flash picures of the ceiling fan. Specifically the closest light bulb (unlit) and compared the words on the bulb. I used the lowest available f-stop, around f8 and finally around f11-f16 depending on the lens. I had about 40 shots, and to tell you the truth I couldn't really find what I would consider to be a clear winner. I wasn't REAL happy with any, but not unhappy with any either. I just finally took what everyone says here and that's not to worry so much. I'm having fun just shooting. I really like this equipment. One of my favorite lenses is a $40.00 vivitar 28-200. It's heavy, creeps and is very slightly flat, so I bump up the saturation and shoot.

I agree about the flash, and am in the market, but don't know which one yet. I like the 540, but it's expensive. Are the Sigma's ok? Any other recommendations?
Thanks again...
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